At some point in life, your children may have to travel alone. It may be for a school trip, visit family or a special occasion. When I was younger I would sometimes have to visit some places alone to visit relatives. The experience can be frightening for children if they are not well prepared. Other times your children may have to go visit their other parent abroad. Airlines usually guide you on what to do as they allow children as young as 5 to fly alone. Nevertheless, the fact that you are handing over your child to complete strangers may leave you anxious. The following tips will help you prepare your child.
- Is the child mature enough? When you’re sending your child out for the first time, consider their age. If the child is too young then it is best to either go for the trip with the child or send him or her with someone close.
- Arrange with the person who will pick your child: It would be frightening if your child reached their destination and didn’t find anybody waiting for them. Make sure that the attendant for the trip has all the relevant information. The attendant should have at least two numbers to contact in case the person picking your child is not there. Ensure that there is something waiting for your child when he/she arrives.
- Travel light: When a child is travelling alone, the last thing he or she needs to worry about is baggage. Whether it’s by bus or air, ensure that their luggage is safe and not too much to worry about. If need be, take a picture of the luggage and send to the one who will receive the child. It is also in order to write your child’s name on their bag.
- Prepare snacks: If your child is traveling a long distance on road then it is best to prepare snacks for your child. Put snacks that you know he/she will definitely eat without a problem. This means they should have a small backpack with them that is convenient and not heavy. If by any chance the travel service has an arrangement for food, make sure to tell them if your child has any allergies.
- Prepare your child psychologically: You should tell your child what they should expect on their trip. If it’s their first trip alone, they need to be given the morale to be away from you. If they are going by plane then tell them how it may feel when the plane takes off. If its road transport, then remind them it’s a car with other people. Reassure them of their safety and tell them about the measures you have taken so that they are safe.
- Tell them about the dangers: Of course this trip has dangers of its own. There are complete strangers around your child. Tell them about the dangerous kind of people that may be there and the warning signs. For instance, they should not talk to strangers nor should anyone buy them anything. Encourage them to only be close to the person they are traveling with and the attendant.
- Ask for appropriate seating: This is mostly for flights where you are guaranteed that your child will sit next to a responsible parent. Usually the child’s seating plan will be next to someone of the same sex. So if it’s your daughter, they should be next to a lady. Similarly a child on a road trip should generally be with someone whom you have assigned to go with. This person is important as they are partially responsible for your child’s safety.
- Ask for permission to accompany your child: If your child is going by air, then ask for permission stay with your child until when they get in the plane. It is important to be with your child until when they are almost leaving so that you can reassure them that all will be well.
- Hand your child over to a specific flight attendant: When dealing with flight attendants, it is best that your child is handled by one flight attendant. Most airlines usually have one who will take care of your child throughout the whole trip.
Sending your child away alone might be very hard for you as a parent. There must be good reason to do so, and if it comes to that then it is best to do it the right way. Never assume that your child will just be fine alone, especially if they are going far. Keep them safe and ready so they can have an enjoyable trip. For more guidelines visit here.